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Few things are as terrifying for a pet parent as watching their fur baby experience a seizure. It’s heart-stopping, panic-inducing, and can make minutes feel like hours. Many pet parents might not know what causes seizures in cats.
At Fuzzy, our goal is to make you the best pet parent you can be, which occasionally requires us to prepare for scary situations with the hope they never actually happen. Whether a cat frequently experiences seizures or you’re being a proactive pet parent, there are a few reasons a pet may be seizing.
First and foremost, cat seizures are fairly unusual. When they do occur, they often signify that something else is going on.
Like seizures in humans, feline seizures are a sign of abnormal brain activity, caused by sudden electric impulses that disrupt the brain’s normal activities. Twitching, tremors, collapsing, and chomping are all commonly associated with cat seizures.
Seizures can either be partial or general. Partial episodes occur in one specific area in the brain, whereas generalized seizures occur in the entirety of both hemispheres. As such, the symptoms and side effects vary by each. General seizures often cause behaviors like shaking, losing consciousness, twitching, or urinating.
Most cat seizures are partial, which can potentially cause drooling, twitching, aggressive behavior, or even tail chasing and/or other unusual movements.
Seizures lasting longer than five minutes are considered a medical emergency. Contact a veterinarian immediately if the cat’s seizing surpasses the five-minute mark, or if they experience multiple seizures within a short period. If a cat’s seizure lasts less than three minutes, make an appointment with their vet for a check-up right away.
Causes of feline seizures can be intracranial or extracranial.
Intracranial seizures are caused by something happening within the brain, such as inflammation or tumors.
Extracranial causes, on the other hand, are caused by conditions or diseases elsewhere in the body, like kidney disease, liver disease, heart arrhythmias, or even from ingesting toxic substances.
Again, if a cat is experiencing seizures, it’s crucial to contact its vet to determine the source and to have the necessary treatment prescribed.
The most important thing to do if a cat is having a seizure is to stay calm. We know that’s easier said than done, but it’s important all the same.
If the cat is perched while seizing and at risk of falling, or hurting themselves otherwise, grab a towel or blanket (they may be scratching) and move them to a safer location. If they’re on the floor or already in a safe location, leave them be until the seizure has ended. Once the episode is over, remain calm and call their veterinarian.
After the seizure and discussing treatment options with a veterinarian, monitor the cat’s behavior, mobility, appetite, litter use, and sleep for ongoing symptoms or complications.
Being a pet parent is an incredibly rewarding experience, but can come with its fair share of scary or confusing moments. Our team of veterinary experts is always available via 24/7 Live Vet Chat whenever you need them.